Facing a Future with Robots and Automation
BY KEN KAPLAN
CTO of Zyrobotics explains why fear needs to be turned into action.
Many fear the coming of a dystopian future overrun by robots and computer automotion. Instead, Dr. Ayanna Howard she sees our world evolving into a place where humans and robots are increasingly collaborative, working together to solve problems.
“Robotics have huge potential to enhance health, culture and civilization, but only if we clamp down on accountability for making sure learning models are built using the right data,” she said.
Howard was named America's Top 50 Women In Tech by Forbes in 2018. She is Chair of the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology. She is also founder and CTO of Zyrobotics, which teaches children how to program and operate robots.
Howard understands the fear some people have about robots surpassing human capabilities and eliminating jobs. But she believes jobs are being redefined with or without robotics. She’d prefer to evolve with the help of programmable machines.
“The types of jobs that are out there today are going to be different in the future,” she said. “We can't imagine what jobs they are, and that can be frightening.”
She’s convinced that people will need fix robotic cars, manufacturing machines, robot vacuum cleaners and other automated things that will arise in the future.
This more automated future will require more distributed data processing and cloud-based services. She said the transition to a more automated world will be as seamless as the advent of mobile phones.
“You have to get comfortable with it by understanding and embracing it,” she said. “Hopefully you also know how to program and develop and design.”
But she warned that people will need to become educated and use the right data from diverse communities in order to prevent biases creeping into code that brings automation to life.
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